Spotting is a breakdown of the cell structure in Epiphyllum plant tissue causing brown to black ‘spots’ on your plants branches. Although testing has been done there is no definitive cause for why spotting occurs in some Epiphyllum hybrids.
There is a wide range of how spotting affects plant growth in Epiphyllum. Some varieties may have only a few spots on an entire plant and the overall plant health is not affected, while other varieties are so prone to spotting that they are virtually impossible to grow.
Varieties like ‘Clown’, ‘Sonoma Sunshine’, and ‘Chiba Lovely Dawn’ are widely known as heavy spotters and can be hard to grow.
In our plant descriptions we note any variety that is found to have spotting as well as the severity with which it occurs.
What can you do?
There is no cure for spotting but there are a few steps you can take to minimize its overall affect.
Over fertilizing with high nitrogen tends to promote spotting in varieties already prone to the problem. Using a fertilizer with less than 12% nitrogen content is recommended for these varieties.
A few fungicide/bactericide sprays have shown to minimize the appearance of spotting but these are often costly and not available to the home gardener.
Trim branches that have stopped growing due to spotting. Once the branch is so affected by spotting that it no longer grows it is of no use to the plant.